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17th Nov 2023

First case of deadly cat virus has been discovered in the UK

George McKay

One expert on the cat virus has called it ‘pretty terrifying’

The first case of a cat virus – a feline version of a coronovirus – that has killed thousands of cats in Cyprus has been discovered in the UK.

One of the leading experts on the virus has labelled the UK discovery “pretty terrifying”.

According to Sky News, the virus first started transmitting between cats in January of this year.

The deadly mutation of the virus is called feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and is regarded as generally fatal unless it is treated.

Reports have said as many as 300,000 cats have died in Cyprus this year alone.

Regular cat coronavirus is usually a pretty mild condition for felines, as the virus tends to stay centred in the bowel, causing mild gastrointestinal issues.

However, this new Cyprus strain, has combined with the canine coronavirus to allow the virus to spread throughout the body and become fatal.

It’s also reported that the virus doesn’t need to mutate to spread efficiently through the Cypriot cat populations.

Some believe the cats in Cyprus may have a particular genetic makeup that makes them particularly susceptible to the virus, but this is not confirmed.

The first case of the cat virus in the UK has been identified in a cat that came from Cyprus, and the cat is now in quarantine and being treated.

Professor Danielle Gunn-Moore told Sky News she has “major concerns” about the virus spreading in the UK.

She says the identified case is likely not the first in the country, and that it will likely crop up again.

Cyprus cats are regularly moved to the UK for rehoming, with entire charities dedicated to bringing them into the country.